Stats refute union claims over safety

THE State Government department responsible for mining denies mine accidents are on the rise because of job cuts.

The CFMEU has claimed mine workers are under more pressure in the current economic climate.

But the Department of Natural Resources and Mines said statistics didn't support this claim.

Chief inspector of coal mines in Queensland, Andrew Clough, said the Queensland Mines Inspectorate had no evidence to suggest an increase in safety incidents.

"That is of course no reason to relax attention to safety and health at mine sites in the current economically challenging times for the industry," he said.

Statistics about accidents, incidents, injury rates and other safety issues in the mining industry are collected annually.

This year's statistics will be released in the Queensland Mines and Quarries Safety Performance and Health Report 2013-14.

Mr Clough said the report would be published once all relevant data had been collected and assessed.

The union's industry safety and health representative, Stephen Woods, said one of the main safety concerns was a re-structure of safety staff.

"There appears to be a distinct disregard to safety," he said. "The economic downturn has seen the big mining companies move their safety departments off-site.

"They are now based in Brisbane.

"If you have less people in the safety department, something is going to suffer."

Data from previous years showed the number of mining fatalities and permanent incapacities from injury or illness increased in 2012-13, compared to the year before. The disabling injuries count was down from 709 to 541 in the same period.

Queensland mines and quarries' safety performance and health reports are available at http://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au.



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